Should you rent or buy? That depends on the city. ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2021 Rental Affordability Report finds that it’s more affordable to own a three-bedroom property than to rent in 572 out of 915 U.S. counties, or 63% of the country. And this is despite median home prices gong up more than average rent in 83% of those 572 counties. Home ownership is actually more affordable in almost two-thirds of the country, mostly thanks to declining interest rates. In 48% of the country, buying a three-bedroom home requires at least a third of average weekly wages. In 55% of the country, renting a three-bedroom home requires at least a third of average weekly wages.
Specifically for Lexington and Richland counties it's cheaper to buy than to rent. The average 3 bedroom rent is around $1300 per month and the average 3 bedroom home would go for around $163,000 in Richland and $175,000 in Lexington. On a 30 year mortgage payments should be below $1000 per month.
Now for Charleston SC it's cheaper to rent. Average 3 bedroom rent is $1685, but to buy a home is $364.000! With mandatory flood insurance required for most homes your monthly payment will be around $2000. Other counties in SC where it's cheaper to rent than to buy are Beaufort, Georgetown, & Oconee.
Other notes from the report include:
- Owning a home still isn't that affordable in populated areas, with renting more affordable than buying in 18 of the nation's 25 most populated counties and in 29 of 44 counties with populations over one million.
- Areas with over one million where it's more affordable to buy include Phoenix, Miami-Dade, and Las Vegas.
- Owning a home is more affordable in 50% of the 94 counties with 500,000 to 999,999 people.
- Areas where it’s more affordable to buy include St. Louis, Tampa and Milwaukee.
- The most affordable markets for renting are mostly in the South and Midwest.
- Roane County, Tennessee, outside of Knoxville, is the most affordable to rent, with only 18.4% of wages needed to rent.
- The least affordable markets for owning include Marin County, CA, outside San Francisco, (105.6% of average wages needed to own) and Brooklyn, New York (101.3%)
- If you prefer to rent, it is more affordable to do so in 18 of the country’s 25 most populated cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Diego and Orange Country, which is outside Los Angeles.
- The least affordable areas to rent include Santa Cruz (82.9% of average wage) and Santa Barbara (68.7%).
- Brooklyn, New York is the area with a population of at least one million where it’s least affordable to rent (62.5%)